Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away on Saturday at the age of 95 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican.
He was the first Pope to resign from office in almost 600 years, and his funeral will be held on Thursday in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City. Pope Francis will lead the funeral, which will be “simple” as per the wish of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The former Pope’s body will lie in state in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican from Monday for the faithful to pay their respects. Pope Francis referred to Benedict as a “noble person” and praised his “sacrifices for the good of the church” in his first public comments after Benedict’s death.
Benedict’s health had been declining for some time, and his announcement to step down as Pope in 2013 due to his “advanced age” surprised the Catholic faithful and religious experts around the world.
Despite promising to remain “hidden” from the world in his farewell address, Benedict continued to speak out on religious matters following his retirement, which caused tensions within the Catholic Church.